Google had a fantastic plan for this fall as it launched the pricing of Google Stadia three months down its announcement. This could be a significant breakthrough owing to the user experience, pricing, and, most importantly, terms of gaming architecture.
All of us are aware of the fact that the gaming market is currently dominated by the major players Microsoft, Sony, and the latest addition to the list is Apple Arcade game services. But, the scenario is going to change with Stadia, potentially making long-lasting impacts on the gaming industry. This article explores Google Stadia (its a game streaming service!) in multiple dimensions and sees if it will change the future of gaming forever.
Dive in deeper to learn more about this gaming console.
The current market scenario:
As of now, the revenue of the gaming industry is predicted to be $152.1 billion for the year 2019 (source: Forbes), and the breakdowns for different devices are as below:
- Smartphones: 36%
- Gaming Consoles: 32% (May grow faster than smartphone segment)
- Boxed: 21%
- Tablets: 9%
- Browser: 2%
Almost all of them require the game application to be downloaded on the respective device and run using native hardware. Perhaps, they have their requirements in terms of configuration, and gamers have to pay license fees to download them. Gaming consoles seem to be the first choice for gaming enthusiasts so far with smartphones banking on their omnipresence.
Google Stadia’s disruptive model
Well, browsers seem to lag far behind others. However, that’s where the Stadia story starts. It doesn’t require downloading the game file on your device as everything will be run on Google’s data centers and beam it to your devices.
The process will require the use of Chromecast to connect with your TV and controller over Wi-Fi. As of now, you need to use a USB-C data cable for connecting with your mobile phone/tablet and PC. If you want to switch between your gadgets, you will need to use the Stadia app on your phone. This makes it technically different from traditional consoles.
In essence, the browser will act as the pivotal facilitation factor for the cloud-based servers to run the games on your devices. Well, it means that the browsers may surface as the underdogs in the gaming landscape.
Pros of Cloud-based game streaming
All of the people I know in the gaming community always mention the ‘hardware’ and ancillary systems from their gaming consoles, which help in getting the most out of it. And this infrastructure comes with heavy price tags. Using Google Stadia will save you from spending serious amounts of money on hardware.
Although the prices for games would be similar to other platforms, which is around $60, you can still save many bucks. Like your over-the-cloud solutions like Netflix and even your company’s factoHR’s payroll software, you need to pay only for the services streamed and not worry about the maintenance or upgradation.
Concerns shared by reviewers:
The reviews given by known critics like Erik Kain and Paul Tassi have stressed out certain aspects of this new Game-as-a-Service (GaaS) model, which I will share with you. Both iPhone and iPad support are in the pipeline while it goes smoothly with the Mac. MMORPG giants like Fortnite are yet to announce their arrival on the platform.
The settings options aren’t impressive currently, but what really poses a serious problem is the availability of other players. It’s more of a ghost town. Latency and occasional buffering also bothered critics apart from being unable to share stills/stream their gaming journeys.
What it means for the gaming community
Being skeptical at the initial stages is natural, but other players (PS5 and Xbox Scarlett) are yet to launch their versions next year who’d face similar problems. While we can stream games effortlessly on any device of our choice, the graphics quality will remain subject to bandwidth as given below:
- 10 Mbps = 720p (Minimum)
- 20 Mbps = 1080p + 60FPS + HDR + 5.1 surround sound
- 35 Mbps = 4k + all other features
Hence 4G LTE could be susceptible, but 5G connections shall be great to go ahead.
We might witness the reincarnation of LAN parties
Yes, you read it right. Unless a bunch of people plans out to use Stadia together, they won’t be able to find other players for their games. Of course, we expect the community to grow, but it will take time, and old-school LAN parties might get temporarily reincarnated if Google does a decent job with the variety and quality of games.
Pricing model and the future course of action
The Google Stadia Premiere Edition (also called the founder’s edition) is priced at $129, which includes the Stadia controller with three months of service. Breaking it down further, the controller is priced at $69, and monthly subscription charges are $9.99 without any long-term buying discounts. It has also announced the Google Stadia Base version without disclosing any feature-specific and costing details for the spec version. Google’s own gaming studio is also creating a buzz, but no information is made public yet. We can only wait to know about the game addition in their fleet.
Future of gaming with live streaming
I choose to be optimistic about this venture as pricing is very competitive as compared to other consoles. It will give substantial room and time for improvements while helping to build the community faster. Buying massive computing infrastructure or being ‘docked’ to it will become a talk from the past as you’ll be able to play your favorite games using only a controller and a screen.
This could be an icebreaker for both the gaming enthusiasts and industry
The whole concept sounds futuristic and tempting for the community, and a revolution in the form of Google Stadia can be ignited with the game streaming era. Soon, we can expect to get high-end games for all in an ideal budget to change the game forever!